For some time now, I’ve been collecting news stories about the parallel economy. This is defined as “any technology or platform that separates itself from mainstream media and takes a definitive stance on political issues to attract consumers with those same values.”
Or, as I like to put it, a parallel economy is what happens when people rise to the challenge of being suppressed. Anyone who has been deplatformed, debanked, expelled, fired, or otherwise told to either shut up or start their own (fill in the blank) will appreciate those who actually DO start their own (fill in the blank).
The result has been alternative banking systems, payment processors, social media platforms, educational options, health care, investment opportunities, media companies, wellness centers, magazines, publishing houses, entertainment venues, literary prizes and endless other entrepreneurial excursions.
In short, when people realize they can’t fight the big guys, many quietly go about creating their own world in alignment with their own values.
Predictably, the left melts down when these alternatives spring up. How dare you take us up on our challenge to start your own (fill in the blank)? How dare you keep your kids away from our public indoctrination centers and school them at home? How dare you refuse our life-saving COVID vaccine and take ivermectin instead?
Recently, I read something that recognized the silent behind-the-scenes “parallel” activities of people taking matters into their own hands and doing their part to rebuild America. Ironically, this movement is being termed a “conservative counterculture” – the latter word so associated with liberal 1960s revolutionaries that its true meaning is almost lost.
In an opinion piece called “A new conservative counterculture is growing. I call it the ‘Quiet Right,’” investigative journalist writer Christopher F. Rufo notes, “That old counterculture has become the dominant culture, having been absorbed into the bureaucracies of universities, schools, government, and now major corporations. The left-wing culture no longer carries a critique; it is the status quo.”
Therefore anything that goes against the status quo is, by definition, counterculture. Welcome to America’s new revolution.
The goal, notes Rufo, is “to rebuild the structures that provide the basis for healthy, integrated human development: families, schools, churches and neighborhoods. Though few have noticed, this is already happening. A ‘Quiet Right’ is patiently, and nearly invisibly, building a viable counterculture.”
Without really knowing what it was called or even realizing it was happening – remember, it’s nearly invisible – my husband and I find ourselves in the midst of this counterculture revolution. We live among people who are simply and without fuss going about their lives, ignoring the insanity of the wider world and focusing on building community (families, schools, churches and neighborhoods) according to their standards.
A crucial factor in this counterculture revolution is geographical location. It helps tremendously that we don’t live in Liberal Land. This is verified by Rufo: “The Quiet Right is also reshaping America’s social geography. The past decade has seen a movement to repopulate small towns and create culturally moderate communities that offer an alternative to misgoverned coastal enclaves.”
However even those who DO live in Liberal Land unobtrusively find their own way. They homeschool their kids, they club up with like-minded people, they worship in churches compatible with their beliefs.
Speaking from personal experience, let’s take a look at education. When our girls were toddlers and we were considering their academic future, my husband and I didn’t like the direction public education was going (this was in Oregon in the late ’90s). We couldn’t afford private schools, so we had one of two choices: either send our girls to public schools and spend the next 12 years bashing our heads against the immovable brick wall of progressive indoctrination; or simply educate them at home. The choice was a no-brainer.
And this, dear readers, is just one example of the counterculture revolution. Oh sure, we hear the huge fanfare whenever a “parallel economy” business or service is launched; but what we don’t hear about are the millions of individual decisions made at the local level to stay aloof from the mainstream culture and just create their own society. This includes peoples’ decisions not to do business with corporations hostile to their beliefs and instead support local stores and small businesses whose goal isn’t world domination and ultimate control.
The interesting thing about the parallel economy is it’s almost impossible to suppress, no matter how many hostile government rules and regulations spring up. It’s like a gigantic case of whack-a-mole: Kill one parallel business and another springs up. Weaponize the government, and non-governmental services will flourish. Take over schools, and homeschooling skyrockets. Seize control of food supplies, and gardening explodes. Confiscate medicine, and alternative health care blossoms. Digitize money, and barter develops. Even the most oppressive régimes across the world have brisk black market economies below the surface, because ultimately people seek individual freedom, not control.
People have always been clever and resourceful. Faced with a problem, they come up with a solution. Because economic centralization is the goal of most dictatorial governments (along with their league of corporate partners), it’s the decentralized facets of the economy that provide the most individual freedom. People are more loyal to themselves (including family and friends) than they are to any government diktats.
As things become more centralized and oppressive in America, I believe people will instinctively expand their personal “parallel economy” activities while tightening their circles. Expect a lot more gardens and backyard chickens. Expect a lot more self-employment and entrepreneurship. Expect a lot more interest in alternative medicine. Expect a lot more small-scale manufacturing. Expect a lot more unconventional educational options.
None of this will be done with blowing horns and clanging symbols. It will be done quietly, but with steely determination.
In the end, call it what you will: Quiet Right, conservative counterculture, parallel economy, whatever. It’s all the same: stubborn and determined people tired of being suppressed, canceled, indoctrinated, regulated, or otherwise fighting against people who want power over them. Viva la revolución.